Picking the right cardio machine can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! 

Ultimately the “right” cardio workout will be whatever machine or movement works best for you and targets the areas you want to focus on. Whether you want a full-body workout, something easy on your joints, or just want to take it slow- there’s a cardio machine for you!

**Calories burned based off a person weighing between 125 to 185-lbs


What it works: Quads, Glutes and Hamstrings. If you use the handle-levers you will also engage upper body muscles.

Calories burned per hour: 540 – 800 calories


  • Lower impact and joint stress, which can be good for someone recovering from an injury or with weak joints.
  • Can be used both backwards and forwards for a varied workout routine.
  • Cardiovascular benefits are comparable to running.
  • Studies show you might push yourself a little harder on this machine!


  • Because both feet are constantly in contact with the machine your body isn’t utilizing its stabilizer muscles.
  • Significantly less hip extension on the elliptical compared to running on the Tred Mill, which can lead to muscle and joint imbalance.
Elliptical Cardio Machine

Tred Mill

What it works: Thighs, Hamstrings, and Quadriceps (raising the incline will increase the load on your hamstrings and Glutes)

Calories burned per hour: at 4mph, 230 – 390 calories (increased speed and incline leads to increased calories burned)


  • Emulates the natural form of walking or running.
  • Higher impact means creating a better posture and working stabilizer muscles.
  • Versatility in speed, incline, and workout programs.


  • The high impact can become really tough on spine, knee, hip and ankle joints after repeated use.
  • Unlike the elliptical where your feet are basically strapped in, Tred Mills allow you to move freely which can lead to a higher risk of injury.
Tred Mill Cardio Machine

Stair Climber

What it works: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves

Calories burned per hour: On a moderate speed, 436 – 645 calories


  • Works your entire legs and tones your booty.
  • Great training for hiking or any inclined walking.
  • Low impact.
  • Versatility of speed and workout programs.
  • Number one machine for creating defined muscles while also getting a cardiovascular workout.


  • Use of handrails means no upper body workout benefits.
stair master cardio machine

Stationary Bike

What it works: Hamstrings, Calves, Hip Flexors, Quadriceps

Calories burned per hour: On moderate speed, 460 – 654 calories


  • No impact so it’s easy on your joints.
  • Spinning classes can encourage you to push yourself harder.
  • A recumbent bike offers a comfortable seat while you work out.


  • Easy to lower the resistance, pedal slow and not get a great workout.
  • Doesn’t work your upper body.
  • A standard stationary bike can be hard on your tush.
Stationary Bike cardio machine

ARC Trainer

What it works: Quads, Glutes, hamstrings (use of handles also works arms and chest)

Calories burned per hour: 369 – 545 calories


  • Adjustable incline to create a harder workout.
  • Low impact.
  • Designed specifically to reduce stress on hips and knees.
  • Total body workout if you use the handles.


  • It’s a very different motion than an elliptical and some people find it awkward to use.


ARC Cardio machine

Which cardio machine is your personal favorite? Comment Below!